“You’re so TALL!!”



Everyone in my family is short. My 4 brothers and sisters and mother and father are all around 5-foot-6 or shorter. Except for me. Somehow I ended up 6-foot tall.

And I was short most of the time when I was a kid growing up. In 8th grade I was about 5-foot tall. I remember the 8th grade graduation ceremony. They lined the whole class up by size for the ceremony. I was like the 5th shortest kid in a class of a couple hundred people.

But then when I was 16 I inexplicably shot up and started to grow. I always suspected I actually WILLED myself to grow tall. You see, my big dream as a kid was to be a professional basketball player. So I really wanted to be tall. So my mother put a tape-measurer on the side of the doorway leading to the kitchen. And every couple of weeks I’d put my back to the tape-measurer and measure myself. I’d write a little line on the doorway with a pencil, of where the top of my head was, so I could see how much I had grown in the last 3 weeks.

And by the time I was 17 I had made it to 6-feet tall. I really think I WILLED myself to grow. Measuring myself over and over (don’t under-estimate the power of auto-suggestion).

So anyways, I had a bad relationship with my mother (she didn’t like me and I didn’t like her — long story). So for most of my adult life I never saw my mother or had any kind of relationship with her.

But then a couple years ago we started hanging out a bit. Every couple of weeks we’d go out for coffee. Stuff like that. And whenever she saw me she’d always say the same thing:

“You’re so TALL!!”


She’d sort of gush about it with this big smile on her face. Part of it was because most of the time when she knew me as a kid I was small. So it surprised her that I was now tall.

But after awhile it started to annoy me that she gushed “You’re so TALL!!” every time she saw me. I realized it was mostly perfunctory. She wanted to make a big show that she liked me and approved of me and was impressed with me. So she’d constantly compliment me for being tall.

But after awhile I realized that was the ONLY thing she could think of to compliment me about. I mean she was never impressed by any of my artwork or any of my accomplishments or any of my other allegedly sterling traits. But she could always say how impressed she was that I was tall. “You’re so TALL!!” It was her “go-to” compliment. But after awhile it started to feel like damning-with-faint-praise (like I said we always had a lousy relationship).

But anyways, I still to this day believe I WILLED myself to grow tall. Measuring my height over and over.

Though it could just be recessive genes.

Or it could be the milkman we had before I was born. I heard he was about 6-foot tall, kind of gangling, always wore a baseball hat, and they say he had an odd love for feral cats. And he was always delivering the milk to our house when my father was off at work.

So they could explain it too.




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